Yesterday marked the 56th year of Ghana’s independence. Ghana, like most post-colonial nations, has been through a lot over the last 56years but one thing they could be proud of is the fact that they were the first African nation to gain their independence, they sparked the fireworks that would be set off through out Africa in the years to follow, right? I mean, this is what a lot of people believe and are taught so it must be true.
Ghana wasn’t the first African independent nation; Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Sudan were all on the bandwagon before the bandwagon got to Ghana. So why does Ghana get credit? Ghana was the first African nation in the Sub-Sahara, a.k.a Black Africa, to gain independence.
I have an issue with this division. Geographically the continent has been divided into light & dark; everything Sub-Saharan being dark & North Africa being light. And often is the case that people are unaware that the countries that make-up North Africa are actually in Africa. You don’t have to search hard to find those ‘geography scholars’ that have evidence that Egypt is not in Africa. There is a stigma in the West that surrounds Africa and being African and it’s been here for a long, long time; part of that stigma is that we are less intelligent and intuitive than our lighter counterparts. And I think that teachings such as ‘Ghana was the first independent nation in Africa’ perpetuate that. As if to say North Africa doesn’t count, as if countries outside of North Africa were expected to be under colonial rule forever because we’re too stupid to be liberated, as if Ghana should be proud because they were the first of the darker brothers to taste freedom. But why should they be?
I don’t know, this may spark a discussion along the lines of the house slave vs the field slave, and the experiences of colonisation in North Africa compared to the experiences in the Sub-Sahara, or it may not. My point is simply: Ghana were not the first independent African nation, and teaching they were emphasises the gap (that shouldn’t be there in the first place) between the North and Sub-Sahara.